The lineup announcement for the return of Vans Warped Tour Australia is imminent and there’s a palpable electricity emanating from music lovers nation-wide. The tour that endowed bands like Blink-182, My Chemical Romance, Paramore and All Time Low with their illustrious careers, and formed unfading good memories in the minds of legions of young people worldwide, is finally returning to Aussie shores after 11 long years.
The Warped Tour began in the US in 1994, the brainchild of promoter Kevin Lyman. In addition to his flagship, Lyman is also the mind behind the popular Taste of Chaos and Mayhem festivals. He began his career as a booker for punk rock bands while still in college. While working for music promoter Goldenvoice, Lyman conceived the idea of a music festival paired with a skateboarding competition.
Lyman’s work on the Vision Skate Escape and Holiday Havoc shows, both of which combined music with skateboarding, inspired him to make his vision a reality. Taking its name from the short-lived Transworld publication Warp Magazine, Lyman gathered a selection of California punk and ska bands, including Sublime and No Doubt and embarked on a tour.
Lyman was considering cancelling the 1995 tour when he was approached by skate shoe company Vans Inc. to put together a skateboarding festival. Lyman brought Vans on to his fledgling punk rock tour as a corporate sponsor and together they turned the Warped Tour into longest-running annual tour in North America.
The festival quickly gathered momentum, with the crowd for the ’97 festival doubling from the previous year. It has since been dubbed “The Tour That Won’t Die”, outliving other legendary alternative festivals such as Lollapalooza, an important influence on the Warped Tour and on which Lyman had previously worked.